A personally illustrated Christmas card filled with heartfelt and sincere words is one of the most special gifts you can give. They’re personal message holders, yes, but they are also works of art — affordable works of art! — and treasured keepsakes.
With this in mind, we would like to offer you a festive, optional BONUS CHALLENGE, encouraging you to come up with a design for an illustrated Christmas card.
From 1 November to 13 December, we invite you to post your design — the front of your illustrated Christmas card — to the Challenge wall. We encourage you to be as creative and imaginative as you like, but please remember that this is still an illustration challenge, so your card must be illustrated, rather than simply decorated, and your posted image must be cropped and lightened, as usual.
Please ensure you only post artwork created specifically for this Challenge. You are welcome to post as many designs as you like (the more the merrier; we love being merry at Christmas!), post a single image at a time and include the tag BONUS CHALLENGE: CHRISTMAS CARD at the top of your post descriptions.
|Word Bird Christmas Card by Prickle and POP|
But wait, there's more!
The Challenge could end here, OR you could go on to print or hand-create your card(s), in which case, we invite you to post a STYLED PHOTO of your finished product to the wall.
What's a styled photo?
A styled photo is a photo of your physical Christmas card(s) in a planned environment; i.e. photographed with a carefully chosen backdrop and intentionally placed props, in order to showcase your work in the best possible light, both literally and figuratively!
In our field, attractive and inviting photographs of our work are just as important as the quality of our original illustrations. We use them on our websites, blogs and social media accounts to convey the quality and character of our work, products and brand; and to attract potential customers, specific markets and the attention of industry professionals.
This bonus challenge offers you an opportunity to have go at this important aspect of marketing yourself as an illustrator, in a safe and supportive environment.
A styled photo might look something like this:
|Word Bird Greeting Card by Prickle and POP|
|Word Bird Christmas Card collection by Prickle and POP|
|Word Bird Christmas Card Sets by Prickle and POP|
|Australian Animals cards by Tania McCartney, published by Nuovo Group|
Guides to photo styling:
You will find lots of other examples online, and Tania McCartney has some fabulous advice in her blog post about photographing books that could easily be applied to photographing Christmas cards. You can read it HERE.
You may find these guides helpful, too:
How to photograph craft: cards and notebooks - Folksy Blog
How To Style Your Product Photos — Holly Booth Photography
How to Style Product Photos to Create Customer Desire - Aeolidia
How I Create Styled Stock Photo Packs: My Step-by-step Creative Process
Simple Product Photos for Etsy | The Merriweather Council Blog
Printing your cards
When printing the Prickle and POP card range, the most difficult and frustrating part of the process was sourcing the right sized envelopes at a fair price. So you might want to consider and source your envelopes first, and use them to dictate the size of your Christmas cards.
It's also good to keep in mind the price of postage — oh, how I wish someone had reminded me of that! — because larger cards will, most likely, require more stamps. This may not be an issue if you are sending a few cards to loved ones here and there, but the extra cost is certainly noticeable when people are purchasing your cards online and you cannot pop them into a single stamp envelope for dispatch. This is probably why A6 size cards have become so popular since the rise of online shopping; although printing costs will have played a large part in this, too.
Print on Demand service
If you choose to use an online Print on Demand company (see below for a few suggestions), they will offer envelopes to match all of their card sizes, which makes life a lot easier! Card sizes and file requirements will vary from company to company, however, so it is important to follow the specifications of the Print on Demand company you choose. They generally have lots of helpful information on their websites, and you can learn a lot about preparing and uploading files for print by reading their Help and FAQ sections.
It's a great idea to familiarise yourself with printing terms like bleed, trim, print resolution and colour mode, as these are things you may need to take into account. But don't feel overwhelmed; it's not as tricky as it may sound! The Online Printer (www.theonlineprinter.co.nz) and Moo Online Printer (www.moo.com) have wonderful glossaries and design guidelines, with super explanations, so it's worth checking them out, even if these particular companies are not viable options for you. Moo Online Printer also offers downloadable templates, as you can see here:
|This image links to this page of the Moo website|
Printing from home
The wonderful Clara Cook has kindly created a blog post outlining the process she uses to print cards from her home computer, which you can read HERE, and below you will find a list of links to information, videos and articles about printing cards, and a few Print on Demand companies.
As we are an international group, we cannot link to printing services that will suit all members, so we encourage you to share your own discoveries and local/online printing suggestions with the Community so that other people in your area can benefit from your knowledge. Please feel free to post your questions or findings to the Community Page or comment on the Bonus Challenge post on the wall.
Moo Online Printer | Greeting Cards | Australia
Optimal Print | Christmas Cards (create your own) | Australia
Digital Print Australia | Greeting Card Printing | Australia
Zazzle | Personalised Greeting Cards | Australia
Environmental Printing | Greeting Cards | Australia
Caboodle | Premium Greeting Cards | Australia
Printroo | Greeting Cards | Australia
The Online Printer | Greeting Cards | New Zealand
Vistaprint | Greeting Cards (use your complete design) | New Zealand
Craftsy | How to Turn Your Art Into Greeting Cards
Techwalla | How to Create Greeting Cards in Microsoft Word
Create the Cut | How to design a greeting card in Photoshop (Part 1)
Create the Cut | How to design a greeting card in Photoshop (Part 2)
Create the Cut | How to design a greeting card in Photoshop (Part 3)
Thoughtco | Turn Your Paintings Into Notecards or Greeting Cards
We are so looking forward to seeing what you come up with for this fabulously festive bonus challenge. Remember to include the tag BONUS CHALLENGE: CHRISTMAS CARD in your post descriptions, and have oodles and oodles of fun!
Kirsty and the Team x